I decided yesterday to shop for a trawler...

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"I would figure on 10 GPH. At 10knts. That's roughly 1 GPM."

Much of Canada is in canals where the speed is limited to 10 Kilometers per hour , about 5K or 6 statute mph , displacement speeds, so fuel burn will be more like 2-4 gph.

Its much to pretty to want to see Canada whiz by so displacement , tiny wake speeds are a delight.
One of the great benefits of chartering is it helps you in determining the size and type that works for you. For instance, many are looking for one comfortable stateroom and one that's just acceptable. You need two that are comfortable.

There's a phrased some use about buying your last trawler first. That is really a warning that a lot of people initially "settle" on something that's just not quite big enough and find themselves back buying a bigger boat not too much later.

I really agree with this approach, especially if you are going to live on the boat, or spend significant stretches of time on the boat. Many suggest buying the smallest boat you think will work. I believe in doing the opposite. Get the biggest boat that you can afford/manage. A boat only seems smaller over time, never bigger. It may seem enormous at first, but that will last maybe a week until you are used to it. Then after a year you will be wishing for more space.
Donna, here you go!


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Re: accommodations. Rumor has it that I snore; on our 38' sedan, Sue gets the centerline forward double and I get the single in a stateroom that's had its upper bunk removed. I'm 6'3 and 280 and it's fine. Most any double cabin boat will get you a pair of doubles or queens; she'll never hear you from 35' away.

Re: flippin' pics. How do you do that?
I have a sleep disorder and normally cannot share the bed with my wife, besides, she goes to bed early and I stay up late...so from what I see most floorplans have a fwd master with a center-line bed and a small twin bunk guest room. Can this be converted into a larger bed for me maybe?

Most that I've seen have a queen bunk which should be plenty.. If not a "conversion" would be very easy(there's room).

Can a vessel such as the Mainship 39 go to the Bahamas and stay for a season?
Of course.

Can it go further such as the BVI?

The Mainship IMO is just a step up from coastal cruiser. I find it slightly more seaworthy than my Mainship 34.

It's about 350 miles of open water from Turks to Puerto Rico on a straight shot.. IMO this is a little bit outside of the boat's design but very possible. It's only 90 miles to the Dominican which would be only slightly out of the way.

I'd say absolutely but you'll want to take a more coastal path vs sailing with the option to seek shelter if the seas build.

I see there are options such as twin Diesel or single...I am OK with a single for economic reasons..how much of a factor would this make in the decision?

The mainship is a semi-planing hull. You can run twins and haul ass but sacrifice efficiency. The way they are set up with higher hp singles i'd want one with a 370 yanmar. With a single you can get about 13 knots which is plenty(16-18 knots with twins) but you'll be drinking fuel. 2-3mpg on this boat @ around 7 knots with a single 370. It's not as efficient as a displacement hull.

Has anybody ever installed a SSB in a trawler?

Does anybody ever add Solar Panels to supplement the Genset?

Havent seen a trawler with a watermaker? I would like to install one....good idea?
Plenty of them run watermakers but i'll sum up the last 3 questions with a suggestion.

I think you'd be happier with a blue water boat based on some of your questions. Full displacement will be more seaworthy and efficient but slower. More aligned with sailing.

This is a killer deal IMO would serve you very well. http://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/s9/wittholz-40-same-owner-30-years-38723.html
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The 1970s and early 80s Californians (at least), whether 38 or 42, were built with two full size beds in the aft stateroom, carry 500 gallons of diesel, and are comfortable boats all around. Mine stays in SoCal, so I can't comment about any of your other requirements.

Congratulations, you've taken the first step on what should be an interesting and rewarding journey. As many others have already pointed out, research is essential if you want this process to turn out well. In so many of the cases I encounter where it does not, it's a result of a buyer...

Rushing into a purchase because the broker has a "back up offer", and he or she is afraid of missing out on the "perfect" boat.

Thinking about the survey as perfunctory, something to just get through so you can have your boat.

Failure to research, and learn about the brand, model and vintage of vessel, and its engine, you are considering. I've published a few articles on this subject that may be useful. They are...

Engine Surveys The Art of the Engine Survey | Steve D'Antonio Marine Consulting

Selecting a Surveyor http://stevedmarineconsulting.com/w...03/Surveyors-Selecting-and-Working-With-1.pdf

Oil Analysis http://stevedmarineconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/FluidAnalysis143_Final.pdf

Boat Buyer's Top 10 Guide to a Pre-Offer Evaluation A Boat Buyer’s ‘Top Ten’ Guide to a Pre-Offer Evaluation Part I | Steve D'Antonio Marine Consulting

I have installed SSB's on trawlers on several occasions, it's doable.
Mainship 400

We also moved from a 28 foot sailboat to our trawler (Mainship 400) and have cruised her from Newport RI to Sarasota FL and Bahamas.

Take a look at our blog for more info on the boat and the trip - http://pathfinderlog.blogspot.com

I have installed SSB's on trawlers on several occasions, it's doable.

Of course it is doable. I had one on my N46. Came with the boat and never used it. It was a comfort.
With the advent of reasonable inexpensive Sat phones and affordable air time, sort of reduces the dependency on the SSB.
Please be sure to check out Helmsman Trawlers. After five other boats, we have had this 38 for three years and just love it. We spent three straight months on it last summer in the Canadian and US Salish Sea. The 38 has a large stateroom and a dinette that makes up to a double bed. Helmsman is in Seattle and just opened a new office in Annapolis. The Helmsman 43 has two staterooms that would clearly meet your needs. There is no better trawler value than this boat and the fit and finish exceed the other boats on the market. Allan. La Paloma Blanca.

I forgot to mention that the Helmsman is far less expensive than most other quality trawlers.

Ever thought about a PDQ powercat? These are often a choice for sailors deciding to move to the "dark side". :socool:

In a 34-footer, you get two queen beds in separate cabins and everything you need for a comfortable live-aboard. Plus, you can cruise at 15-knots on a mere 5 gallons/hour. All that with less than 3-ft draft and protected props.

Over the last 10 years we took our "Sno'Dog" up and down the ICW and out to Bahamas several times. Check out our website for more info: SnoDogLog - Original Index Page

Searching for a Trawler

Hey Jeff:
I've enjoyed my Monk 42, but for health reasons, must now begin marketing her. And she would fit your requirements quite well.

"We plan to travel up and down the coast, do the loop and the Bahamas.
I want to be comfortable and a good floorplan. Living area vs seaworthiness is a balance I am striving for."

This brand is renowned for long-distance voyaging, with many such trips aboard the Monk 36, the little sister of our Monk with a LOA of over 45 feet.

"I have a sleep disorder and normally cannot share the bed with my wife, besides, she goes to bed early and I stay up late...so from what I see most floorplans have a fwd master with a center-line bed and a small twin bunk guest room. Can this be converted into a larger bed for me maybe?"

With 2 sizable cabins, fore and aft, there's ample sleeping accommodation for both of you, and without disturbing the sleeper. The aft cabin features a queen-sized pillow-top mattress on a peninsula-style bed. And the forward cabin features twin full-length berths. Each cabin has a solid teak privacy door, so no light transmission possible from late night activities.

"Can a vessel such as the Mainship 39 go to the Bahamas and stay for a season?"

No problem with our twin-engine Monk.

"Can it go further such as the BVI?"


"I see there are options such as twin Diesel or single...I am OK with a single for economic reasons..how much of a factor would this make in the decision?"

In my opinion, a boat of any size over mid 30's, particularly for long-distance travel, should have twin diesel power. Two engines will each work less than one engine alone. And the advantages of 2 engines goes further; think dead-slow steering and docking. And if you're out in the middle of big water, how would you feel about losing your only single engine? With twins, you have the ability to power your way to port without using a paddle.

"Does anybody ever add Solar Panels to supplement the Genset?"

I'd planned to install solar panels on the hard-top of the bridge. Lot's of real estate up there.

"Havent seen a trawler with a watermaker? I would like to install one....good idea?"

Rather than a water-maker, I use a portable Berkey water filter system. Check them out first; there's great!

I invite you to check out my boat which I just listed today. And remember that you definitely have the dollar exchange advantage with your American Greenbacks.

Hi Jeff,
My wife and did the great loop in a 50' trawler completing it in 2017. You pose some good questions and I will give you my opinion which you should take with a several grains of salt. While you do have some good experience on the water, I can tell you that owning the boat and being the captain is an entirely different experience. So plan on a pretty steep learning curve for the boat and the lifestyle. In addition to belonging to this great forum, I would also suggest you join America's Great Loop Cruising Assoc. Home - America's Great Loop Cruisers' Association and the Marine Trawler Assoc at MTOA Home - Marine Trawler Owners Association. AGLCA is focused on the Great Loop both for cruising info and for boat questions. This one is a good place to pose your stateroom questions. MTOA has a wealth of boat technical info. MTOA also has a marine insurance program that is favorable to boaters.

For your stateroom question I suggest you try to find a boat with the layout that works for you. Much cheaper than trying to redesign a boat. Those dollars can be better used on some of your other issues. And yes, your use of the boat will determine design. We opted for a cock pit for ease of docking and locking and swimming. Our boat had a rear master suite and a bow stateroom which would accommodate your sleeping needs nicely. However that arrangement usually comes in larger boats. Our priorities were comfort and space since we wanted to still be married at the end of the trip. But then we have 20 years on you in age.

I would suggest you attend some of the gatherings of AGLCA and MTOA and Trawler Fest where you can talk with other boaters doing what you want to do and most of them have tours of the members boats that will give you lots of exposure to the many options in layout. Not sure of your budget but we opted for a 1986 model in order to get the size boat that satisfied our needs within our budget

Can you do the Bahamas or the BVI in that boat? Depends on fuel capacity and consumption. Our boat held 500 gallons of fuel and got one mile per gallon at 8 or 9 kts. If I really needed more range I could idle at 6 kts and get 2 miles per gallon. So do your homework on tankage, fuel, water, and waste. Plan on using 80% of your fuel for a trip in order to have a reserve to allow for weather, current, and tides. Learn the fuel burn rates at different speeds and you will know how far you can go between fuel stops.

Can you live on this boat for a season. Sure for you will rarely be more than a days travel from fuel and water and food.

Twin or diesel. What a loaded question. Now having the great loop under our belt, I am firmly in the twin camp. Twice the second engine got us home twice over the 7 years we traveled. Singles are more fuel efficient, give more room in the engine room, and are cheaper to maintain. Twins make maneuvering much easier and have a get home engine if one dies. There are hundreds of boats of both types and the owners of each will tell you why theirs is the best. So it comes down to personal choice. I would suggest you charter one of each style and see which you prefer.

We had a SSB in our boat from the previous owner and I never got my license or learned how to use the radio. Again a personal choice depending on your travel. In the Bahamas and BVI, you would be wise to have one due to limited VHF ranges in open waters.

Our boat came with a water maker that had not been used in years. It would have cost $1500 to get it working again. Water tankage is a big factor in having one or not as is the space to put one. I ended up removing ours since I needed the space for other things. Unless I was going to do extensive cruising in remote areas with no or expensive water, I would not have one.

I have no experience with solar panels so will leave that one to others.

Good luck with your adventure
Yes, I understand about the SSB, I am a amateur radio geek and I just like to fiddle with them ...

I found a few charter outfits down south Florida way and they have a couple of trawlers for charter, not cheap but would be a good idea to go try it.

On a plastic boat, a 100W SSB generates significant field strength, possibly levels which we would not permit folks to be exposed to. Personally, I would not use an SSB on the boat very often. Emergency only.
Check out Gulfstar trawlers from the 70's and 80's - great value, lots of interior space.
Solar - yes, definitely!
Single or twin - personal preference.
SSB - yes. But if you don't already know how to use one, and you LIKE it - I wouldn't bother. We have one, have never used it in 2 years of full-time living aboard. There are better options for most things you would use one for.
Watermaker - absolutely! Especially if you want to do the islands. But buy a simple one - ours came with a fully-automated one, and the automation parts have been expensive to keep working. And make sure it uses generic membranes! The cost of them is way less than half of ones that are custom for a particular model.
Wow, you guys are great, super helpful, we had a look at a 2007 Nordic Tug 37 that a friend has in the marina and both the wife and I loved it. Unfortunately it is way over our budget, even the earlier models. We spen the weekend anchored close to Daufuskie island here on Hilton Head SC on our 28 ft Sloop & ran the numbers and discussed how much it will cost us in fuel to explore and wow that put quite a buzz kill on this dream....
There is no better trawler value than this boat and the fit and finish exceed the other boats on the market.

Except the North Pacific. ;-)

My impression is that the OP isn’t in the market for a new boat. The Helmsman are good boats at a great value (like the North Pacific) but they are a relatively new boat without much used inventory out there.
Moderate vs Heavy Displacement

Correct me if I’m wrong, I have always thought of Mainships as moderate displacement hulls. If I was buying a vessel to go offshore then I would be sure to buy a heavy displacement vessel like a Defeavor, Kady Krogan. Etc.
This is a wonderful thread - I am in much the same position as Jeff in Savannah. Looking, reading, watching, dreaming. Thank you all for the input.

Ken in North Carolina
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